By: James M.
I read the letter regarding Valdes and was inspired. I never joined the Marines but have always held them in high regard as well as my own branch. I was drafted when I got to Iceland. I was there 4 days and at the NCO club got in a fight with a couple of Marines. I will not say who won, however two days later I was called to the office of Admiral Beking. He advised me that the Ground Defense Forces had only about 20% of the man power due to Vietnam, and since I was or appeared to be in great shape (Six feet four inches 225 pounds no fat) he was reassigning me to Ground Defense Forces. I questioned his authority and said if I was not reporting to the Gunny Sergeant in charge at 0800. He said at 0801 I would be in jail. I reported at 0759. I was taken to a building and issued winter white 787 gear, and a M1 and some other things I do not remember. The Sgt who was to help me in the unit began explaining the M1 and 1911 to me and the first thing I did trying to use the M1 weapon is cut my thumb real bad. I never fired a weapon so much in all my military days. Three sometimes four times a week from all positions. I never tasted my own blood so often after Pt and I am certain to this day they were actually trying to kill me. I thought the reassignment to 3rd Rifle Platoon, Company B, 6th Marines, a detachment since the main Battalion had moved to Japan was temporary, until I looked at my orders closely and it said permanent. I ended up serving 18 months. I only saw the interceptors of the 57th from a distance. I was a Sergeant and I had a few perks, a refrigerator and a little respect. When I left Iceland and went to a missile squadron I must admit I was a little sad since I had learned such great respect for the Marines. Three of my sons asked me which branch to join i told them to join the Marine Corps. I just came back from Camp Pendleton and the promotion ceremony for my Granddaughter.
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